GLORIA TELES PUSHKER SALTZ, whose “Toby Belfer” series of books established her as a major Jewish children’s book author, died on February 9, 2020 in Encinitas, California. She was age 93.
A longtime resident of New Orleans, she was a valued member of the sales teams at Kreeger and Maison Blanche for 25 years. Following her career in sales, she went back to college and earned three master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, Library Science and Education. At age 65 and beginning with “Toby Belfer Never Had a Christmas Tree,” she embarked upon a second act as a published author of six children’s books published through Pelican Books. She was also a professor of children’s literature at Loyola and Xavier Universities and a storyteller for young audiences. During her storytelling presentations, she would often make paper hats out of newspapers for each child and would also employ the use of puppets to aid her in the storytelling.
She wrote under her original married name of Gloria Teles Pushker. A spokesperson for Pelican Publishing expressed the company’s sorrow on learning of her passing: “Gloria Pushker Teles wrote books for children that made Jewish traditions relatable and understandable – helping all children see the commonalities in our faith and culture. She will be missed.”
Saltz embraced life and was always kind to everyone she met, participating in water exercise,playing the card game Pitty Pat, Mahjong and bingo. She was also active in quilting and was reputed to possess a green thumb in gardening. Saltz enjoyed her Red Hats group, traveled to Israel and Paris and was honored in the Cayman Islands for her accomplishments.
At the age of 85, she moved to a retirement community in the San Diego area. She participated in the center’s plays, singing groups, arts and crafts, exercise classes, and even became a bat mitzvah. More significant than that, in 1939, Gloria Teles became the first female to become a bat mitzvah in the entire state of Louisiana.
One of her favorite expressions was “As Nike says, ‘Just Do It!’” She was always ready to go anywhere in a moment’s notice.
She was married to Benjamin Pushker for almost five decades before his death. She remained a widow for many years before remarrying Gerson Saltz of blessed memory. It was after her second husband’s death that she moved to California.
She is survived by her three daughters Judy P. Kase (Jack), Elizabeth P. Wolfson and Gail P.Trettin, her step-children Andrea Joseph (Jay), David Saltz, Isaac Saltz, Louis Saltz ( Brenda) and Solomon Saltz (Kayla): seven grandchildren and step-grandchildren several great-grandchildren and one great-great-grand daughter.
Graveside services were held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 in Ahavas Sholem Cemetery, 4400 block of Elysian Fields Avenue, (Frenchmen Street gate). Rabbi David Gerber officiated.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Seacrest Foundation, Employee Appreciation Fund, 211 Saxony Road, Encinitas, California 92024. An online guest book is available at www.lakelawnmeairie.com. Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements